Stamp Collecting for Children
By D. J. McAdam
Stamp collecting is a hobby that one can begin successfully at virtually any age, and with any budget. I personally started collecting stamps at age 5, probably because my brother Frank, four years my senior, was a stamp collector and because I was determined to do whatever he did. This presented an interesting challenge, in that I had not yet been taught to read, but the situation did not deter me and, in fact, whetted my appetite for education.
Ah, there it is – even in the first paragraph of discussing stamp collecting for children, the dreaded word education creeps in! Actually, stamp collecting can of course be educational, but that is not my sole (or even primary) reason for recommending it as a suitable hobby for younger persons.
Good reasons for children to collect stamps are as follows:
- It’s fun. I think this rather important.
- It is a hobby one can pursue throughout life. This is often the case, though there may be periods of dormancy.
- Stamp collecting is, essentially, an exercise in organization. I will not go so far as to say the hobby encourages neatness – there are too many examples of adult stamp collectors going in the opposite direction for that – but it does build in to those developing brain cells an appreciation of orderliness.
- Stamp collecting reduces stress. It is, perhaps, a sad commentary on modern life that one should have to worry about reducing stress in a child’s life, but there you have it. I have personally known children with Attention Deficit Disorder who have done quite well with stamp collecting, for the same reason adults find it satisfying – the idea that “I may not be able to control the world around me, but stamp collecting allows me to bring this one tiny corner of it into order.”
- It is quiet. Admittedly, this is probably more of a benefit to parents than to children.
- It gives children a sense of geography. Reading about geography can be boring. Getting a stamp from Somalia, or Argentina, or French Polynesia, and then locating that country on a map or globe, can be quite interesting.
- It gives children a sense of history. Stamps may depict historical events, but they are also in their own right actual historic documents. Open an album or stamp catalogue to Monaco and there, in the year 1956, is a place for a stamp issued to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly. Turn to Mexico, in the 1960’s, and you will come across a stamp honoring John F. Kennedy. Go to Germany, in 1941, and you will find stamps depicting Adolf Hitler. World history, the good and the bad, is printed on these tiny documents.
- Stamp collecting is inexpensive. One can get quite far on what one might otherwise spend on a single DVD or video game.
All you really need to get started in stamp collecting are stamps, and a place to keep them. I hope I’ve encouraged you to get your children started in stamp collecting. Speaking from personal experience, I can attest that it is a wonderful hobby.
Looking for stamps for your collection? Be sure to check out the Famous Stamps webstore.